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Salmon can be cooked in any number of different ways. Salmon is available in fillets, steaks, and even chopped or flaked. The flavor of salmon can be enhanced or meshed with other ingredients, although the basic practices for how to cook salmon apply to steaks or fillets.

Salmon can be purchased whole, but it is usually best to have a professional cut the fish. Farmed salmon and wild-caught salmon have different flavors. Various salmon species also have distinct flavors. People without much experience can research available types of salmon before purchasing.

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Salmon Fillets

Fillet, or filet, refers to a cut of meat or fish and the process of cutting it. The flesh of the fish is cut away in one piece away from the backbone. It is a lengthwise cut along one side. Salmon fillets usually do not contain bones and have a rectangular shape. Butterfly fillets are a specific technique to cut the fillet on each side with both fillets connected by flesh and skin from the belly. Skin may be removed from fillets or left intact.

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Salmon Steaks

Fish steaks are cut crosswise across the body and through the bone. They often have a horseshoe shape. Most steaks are cut from fish weighing 10-pounds or more, and salmon steaks are often shaped like horseshoes. Salmon steaks contain pieces of ribs and backbone, and skin is usually left intact. Some steaks cut from large fish do not have bones or skin.

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Skin or Skinless

The method of cooking determines whether skinless salmon is preferable or not. The skin on salmon fillets or steaks is crispy and full of flavor. Skin also provides a slight barrier between the flesh and a hot surface. The skin can be removed after cooking if desired. Skinless salmon should be used for slow roasting or poaching because the skin will be mushy and sticky instead of crispy.

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Avoid Overcooking

Awareness of common mistakes is helpful while learning how to cook salmon or improving existing culinary skills. Overcooking seared salmon on a grill or pan is a frequent error. Sear salmon with the skin side down, and do not flip the fillet or steak until the skin is crispy. Sear the skinless side quickly while watching closely. The pink, semi-translucent flesh turns white and opaque when it is cooked. Nonstick pans lower the risk of fish sticking to the pan and allow faster flipping to avoid overcooking.

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Broiling Salmon

Broiling salmon is a fairly simple and straightforward method. It may be the best method for those just beginning to learn how to cook salmon. Preheat the broiler on high heat. Place an oven rack in the top third of the oven. The salmon should be positioned approximately 5-inches from the broiler coils. Arrange salmon fillets on a baking sheet covered with parchment or aluminum foil. Season the fish with salt, pepper, and any other seasoning called for in a specific salmon recipe. Broiled salmon is usually done in 5-8 minutes. Use a fork to gently press a corner of the fillet. The salmon is finished when the flesh flakes away easily.

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Baked Salmon

Place 4 salmon fillets on a plate or dish for 15 to 30-minutes to reach room temperature.Preheat the oven to 450°F, and cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Pat the salmon fillets dry with paper towels, then arrange fillets skin-side down on the covered baking sheet. Coat the salmon on both sides with olive or avocado oil. Sprinkle salt, black pepper, and any other desired dry seasonings over the salmon. Bake until the internal temperature of the fillets reaches 135-140°F. A general rule is 4-6 minutes of baking for each half-inch of thickness at the thickest section of the fillet. Sprinkle baked fillets with lemon juice and fresh herbs.

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Salmon Patties

Canned salmon makes a healthy, filling lunch or dinner with this salmon recipe. Drain a 14.75 ounce can of salmon and remove bones or skin. Combine the salmon, 1 beaten egg, 1/4 cup of chopped celery and green onion, 1/4 cup of mayonnaise, and 1/3 cup of bread crumbs in a large bowl. Mix thoroughly and form into 4 patties. Melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet. Fry the patties until they are golden-brown. The patties can be eaten on buns with a variety of condiments and toppings. Cut the patties into cubes and mixed with pickles to pair with potatoes.

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Poached Salmon with Lemon

This simple poached salmon recipe makes a fast and delicious dinner. Cut one lemon in half, and cut another lemon into wedges. Place four 6 ounce salmon fillets on a plate. Drizzle the salmon fillets with olive oil, sea salt, and pepper. Use a skillet with high sides, and fill it a third of the way full with water. Add 1 bottle of dry white wine to the skillet with the lemon halves. Bring the skillet ingredients to a low simmer, then add the salmon. Cook the salmon for 5 to 7 minutes until it feels firm. Garnish the cooked salmon with lemon wedges and fresh parsley.

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Sweet and Savory Grilled Salmon

This sweet and savory grilled salmon recipes is perfect for a summer cookout. Combine 1/2 cup of brown sugar, 1-teaspoon of salt and pepper, 1/3 cup of lemon juice, 1/4 cup of both soy sauce and olive oil, 1/3 cup of water, and 1 clove of minced garlic in a mixing bowl. Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved, then pour the mixture into a zip-top bag. Place 2 pounds of salmon fillets in the bag to marinate for at least 2 hours. Preheat the grill to medium heat, and brush the grate with olive oil. Arrange the marinated fillets on the grill with the skin against the rack. Cook for approximately 6 minutes, then flip onto the skinless side. The fillets are finished when the internal temperature reaches 120º F.

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Pan Seared Salmon

Preheat a skillet over medium heat with 2 tablespoons of avocado or olive oil. Season the salmon fillets or steaks with salt, pepper, lemon juice, or other seasonings. Lay the fish in the skillet with the skin down. Cook the fish 90% of the way through, or approximately 5 minutes, before flipping. It may need less than a minute to cook on the skinless side. Popular pan-seared salmon recipes include roasted garlic, spiced mustard, and honey glazes.

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